You thought nothing could be darker than the benighted vista before you – an infinity of ink-black sea and sky, unbounded by horizon, unpierced by stars. Then you saw the ship.
Its darkness is a corporeal kin to that of the sea, drifting silent over unseen eddies. At first it is only the slightest disturbance, a hint-of lack-of nothing. Then, as your eyes strain to focus, motion takes on form: black sails, a dark wooden hull, ropes silhouetted black-on-black.
You cannot say how long you stand, knee-deep in cold water, awaiting the craft’s approach. It strikes you as unusual that such a large vessel could come so close to shore without running aground, but you push the strangeness from your mind as lantern light flares against the deck.
There, in a muted amber aura, stands the strangest sailor you’ve ever seen. Fully armed in blackened steel, a helmet obscuring his face, he calls to you – though his words are lost on the wind. Somehow, despite the darkness, you know he sees you. He calls to you. Pinpricks brush your neck.
The sailor cries out again and, reaching to his belt, draws a weapon. The steel blade flashes, a momentary beacon against the night. The sailor holds it out – not as a threat, you realise, but… an offering? A blackened web of bars gives way to a broad, curved blade. Is it familiar, or is that just fancy upon fancy?
Without quite knowing why, you wade, entranced and weaponless, toward the waiting ship.
Making an ambidextrous dussack as part of our Discordian Suite was a challenge that called for careful analysis.
The traditional dussack design is strongly asymmetrical, with thumb protection on the inside of the blade depending from a “finger ring” and a sail or half basket on the outside. Despite the presence of the “finger ring”, the sail on the vast majority of extant dussack would preclude fingering the guard. Rather, the ring serves as an anchor for a sweeping thumb bar, which may include a thumb ring.
Taking all this into account, a simple basket hilt would be inadequate as it would render thumbing the blade impossible. The best solution was to look at the rising basket of the schiavona, where the section above the cross allows room for different grips and thumb positions. Combined with the curved quillons so characteristic of dussack, and drawing on several originals to provide inspiration for the disposition of the basket elements, a synthesis of several related sword types permits this trainer to be used in either hand without sacrificing the essentials of the sword form to be studied.
A similar bespoke dussack would come to £1000 plus postage.
The hardened and tempered steel hilt is oil blackened, with subtle engraving highlighting chaos star carvings on the quillon terminals, closed ports and pommel. The hardwood grip is wrapped in twisted brass and steel wire, and the broad curved blade features a single fuller.
Room in your armoury for a daemonic dussack? Get in touch to discuss your ideas.